On 18 Aug 2017 at 0630, The Warrior Built Foundation came together at the start line of the Vegas2Reno race with their 2006 CRF450X dirt bike race number ‘352’. This will be the 2nd time they challenged this race head on, but one they will never forget.
Giovanni Perez pushed the bike up to the start line where he sat while watching the previous rider roost off the line. He gathered in a deep breath, pumped himself up, and then the flag waved. He sprinted off the line while the back wheel swung from side to side attempting to gain traction. We collected ourselves and headed back to our parked trucks to get on the road and beat feet to PIT 1. After arriving at the PIT, we made jokes and waited for Gio to rip around the corner to tell us how the bike was running. He was ecstatic to inform us that the bike was performing better then ever on the race course. This pumped up the whole team and we sent him off to PIT 2, where we would switch riders with a new Warrior Built team rider, Chris Carlisle. We monitored the GPS system from LeadNav, which tracked the bike at all points of the race. As soon as he arrived, Chris jumped on and took off into the distance at a high rate of speed. This was his time to shine and he was no stranger to the adrenaline that was offered during this race. We met him back at RM 93 where another Marine combat Veteran, Jason Hamm, took charge of the bike to race ahead another 100 miles. We drove to PIT 4 and said hello to Jason and check in on him. He motioned a thumbs up and we waved him on by to continue his dirt bike adventure to RM 183.
We waited along the sidelines of the course where Nick Hamm put on his gear as Jason was approaching our current position. Once there, the brothers hugged and Nick disappeared away into the desert attempting to keep the 1 hour and 30 minute lead ahead of the trophy trucks.
The team packed up the gear and jumped back into the trucks to leave PIT 5 in the rear view mirror. They began the drive to PIT 7 where Nick would switch out with Chris Carlisle. As he came across the road, he popped a wheelie into the pits. Nick was having a blast back where he belonged, on the bike. He hugged Chris and told him be safe out there. This would be the last time he saw Chris, as we went ahead to beat the construction currently taking place on the highway between PIT 8 and 9.
Chris dominated his first section to RM273 (PIT 8) and signaled that he was alright to continue his ride. We waited at PIT 9, approximately 28 more miles down the road at RM300 for him to come in. Unfortunately, Chris never made it to our location. Just 10 miles short of PIT 9, Chris crashed the race bike at RM 290 for unknown reasons and was medevac’d out of the area.
This caused the whole team to spring into action to asses the situation. Sadly, Chris passed away just a few minutes later during a life flight to Reno, NV.
We are deeply saddened by this loss of Chris during this tragedy and he will be truly missed by all of us. We cannot express the sadness we are feeling for him right now.
These are the last pictures taken of Chris before the tragic accident.
Chris' family has set up a GoFundMe account to help during this difficult time.
RIP Chris Carlisle 9/23/77 - 8/18/17